We had always planned on home educating the girls, as Gaz was home educated through his secondary years and had a wonderful experience of it. Our work set up meant it worked beautifully for our family, it suited our girls so well as individuals and we felt strongly about the value of child led life learning. Through this, we met a beautiful local community of people who welcomed us with open arms. Through lots of the wonderful and inspiring people we met through home ed, and lots of our own research we began to change the way we lived when Caitlyn was around a year old.
We began to be more ethically conscious with the food we were eating and how it was produced, and the way we lived in general. We transitioned to a plant based diet and learnt a whole new way to cook and eat (and felt fantastic for it!).
We realised how much stuff we bought, and how it didn’t make us any happier, soaked up all of our money and had a negative effect on the world too. We had a large house that was filled with stuff and we always needed more storage. We were just your average consumers – consuming then striving for the next thing – technology, a newer car, new clothes and things for the kids, redecorating, needlessly extending and renovating our home. Wasting loads.
Slowly, we began moving away from that to a more conscious way of consuming – buying second hand wherever we could and giving away and selling tonnes of stuff we didn’t need. We started to grow our own food. We discovered veg growing one day when we had been to visit my aunty and uncle and they’d given us some lovely homegrown produce from their garden. I was blown away by how tasty it was, and after also hearing about how so many friends of ours loved their allotments, I was really curious to try growing ourselves. With only a tiny, poorly drained garden in our old house we had no way to grow much there, so I began looking into local allotments. I found one just up the road, there was a waiting list but the owner phoned to say we could visit and see a few plots that would be coming up soon. He must have sensed how excited about it we were as he ended up giving us our first plot that day, for the bargain price of $10 per year!
Over the next year of setting up, sowing, growing, weeding and harvesting we utterly fell in love. We spent so many happy hours there, picnicking and pottering with the kids playing. We took on the next plot when it became available to have a bit more space. I got pregnant and had our beautiful boy Marley, we had an incredibly stressful time with complications and his Noonan Syndrome diagnosis, but luckily he was born without any major issues needing surgery, and was happily down at the allotment with us at a few days old (it was July and the veg needed harvesting!).
We continued to love being there with our 3 little people, which led to our next move – buying our farm!